Lisbon, pastéis de nata and fado give color to the new film by Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos


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Emma Stone’s new film, “Poor Creatures”, which opens in Portuguese theaters on January 25, 2024, has a crucial part of the narrative set in Lisbon, with a slight obsession with pastéis de nata and the performance of fado singer Carminho.

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, the film begins in black and white and switches to color when Emma Stone’s character, Bella Baxter, begins her travels. The first stop is Lisbon.

“The world is so different when it’s in black and white and when it’s in color,” said the director at a conference on the film attended by Lusa. “I thought it made sense to film the first part, before she starts her journey, in black and white.”

The colorful Lisbon of the film is a fantasy version, with flying streetcars and exaggerated contrasts. Bella Baxter, who is discovering the world for the first time, finds the Portuguese capital an explosion of sensations.

“There are many things that expand it,” said Emma Stone at the conference. “Animals, food, dancing. Music, singing, fado,” she said.

On one of her tours of Lisbon, Bella Baxter stops and enjoys Carminho’s fado, sung by the window while playing the Portuguese guitar. The fado singer was present at the movie’s premiere in New York, where she performed under the complicit gaze of Emma Stone and chatted with Taylor Swift.

“How proud I am to take fado and the Portuguese language to such a special place, sharing these moments with a unique director and a fabulous team,” Carminho wrote on her Instagram account after the performance.

The character also discovers a passion for custard tarts, which she eats until she’s sick.

The film has garnered good reviews and is considered a candidate for several Oscar nominations, after winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Emma Stone stars alongside Willem Dafoe (Dr. Godwin Baxter), Mark Ruffalo (Duncan Wedderburn) and Ramy Youssef (Max McCandles). It’s an “incredible” cast, said the actress, whose role includes many sexual scenes and the physical interpretation of a child.

“Bella is pure joy and curiosity, she feels no guilt and has no traumas,” said the actress. “It’s hard to find an adult who hasn’t been through things and doesn’t have a ‘Pavlovian’ response or certain judgments.”

Lanthimos added that “this character is unlike anything we’ve seen before”.

This is Emma Stone’s second feature film with Yorgos Lanthimos, after “The Favorite” in 2018.

“I didn’t even think twice about it. This is my favorite character ever,” said the actress. “And with Yorgos? It wasn’t a difficult decision at all.”

The director, known for strange and fantastic stories, had been trying for twelve years to turn Alasdair Gray’s award-winning book (“Poor Things: Episodes from the Early Life of Archibald McCandless M.D., Scottish Public Health Officer”), published in 1992, into a movie. The adaptation was written by Tony McNamara and the film, from Searchlight Pictures, will hit the European market in January 2024.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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